London open: Stocks edge up amid earnings avalanche

Opening Market Report
08:06, 25th February 2021

(Sharecast News) - London stocks edged higher in early trade on Thursday following positive US and Asian sessions, as investors set aside their concerns about inflation and waded through an avalanche of earnings reports.

At 0850 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 6,679.51, while the pound was flat against the dollar at 1.4143.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "The Dow Jones closed a whisker below 32,000 on Wednesday night, spurred on by Jerome Powell's reassurances that the incoming stimulus package won't over-juice inflation, and that the Federal Reserve is committed to giving the US economy the help it needs.

"The addition of more than 400 points puts the Dow in a primo position this Thursday - even a timid, 0.2% open, as forecast, will see it hit the 32,000 milestone. Unthinkable 11 months ago to the day, when it neared 18,000 in the aftermath of the first wave of pandemic panic.

"The European markets didn't take the ball and run with it on Thursday. Nevertheless, it was a uniformly green, if meek, start to trading."

In equity markets, paper and packaging group DS Smith was the top gainer on the FTSE 100 following reports that rival Mondi is considering a £5bn takeover.

Anglo American rallied as a boom in commodity prices and the easing of Covid curbs in the second half helped the miner to report better-than-expected annual profits and lift its dividend. Mining stocks more generally were on the rise as copper prices rallied.

FTSE 250 construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall gained as it reported a decline in full-year profit as the Covid-19 crisis had an impact, but upgraded its expectations for 2021.

Aston Martin, Serco and Grafton were also higher after full-year results.

On the downside, Standard Chartered fell after it said annual profits more than halved on bad loan impairments due to the coronavirus pandemic, as it resumed dividend payments and announced a share buyback. The Asia-focused bank said pre-tax profits fell 57% to $1.61bn, below the $1.85bn average of bank-compiled analyst forecasts. Credit impairments more than doubled to $2.3bn.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Centrica, Genus, Spectris and Howden Joinery were also weaker after the release of their full-year numbers.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,679.51 0.31%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,308.44 -0.02%
techMARK (TASX) 4,024.02 -0.26%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Smith (DS) (SMDS) 419.60p 9.27%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 116.35p 3.98%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,948.00p 3.75%
Pearson (PSON) 773.00p 2.71%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,891.00p 2.13%
BHP Group (BHP) 2,367.50p 1.87%
BP (BP.) 304.15p 1.79%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 436.75p 1.74%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 6,461.00p 1.67%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,858.50p 1.64%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,272.00p -6.00%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 484.40p -4.91%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,217.00p -2.32%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 7,005.00p -1.62%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,725.00p -1.41%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 685.20p -1.38%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,415.50p -1.29%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,488.50p -1.19%
Avast (AVST) 466.20p -1.19%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,556.00p -1.10%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Morgan Sindall Group (MGNS) 1,656.00p 11.29%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 2,197.00p 9.80%
Serco Group (SRP) 136.00p 5.26%
Capita (CPI) 46.80p 3.56%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 123.80p 3.17%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 97.98p 3.16%
Rank Group (RNK) 180.00p 3.09%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 347.20p 2.72%
Just Group (JUST) 92.50p 2.27%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 315.90p 2.10%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Genus (GNS) 5,005.00p -4.48%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 712.40p -3.94%
Inchcape (INCH) 700.50p -3.58%
Centrica (CNA) 51.90p -2.99%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 27.10p -2.34%
Redrow (RDW) 552.50p -2.21%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,382.00p -2.19%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 105.55p -2.00%
Spectris (SXS) 3,038.00p -1.94%
Vistry Group (VTY) 863.00p -1.82%

Disclaimer & Declaration of Interest

The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.

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